There are reasons why here at Tripquake we aim to give you the lowdown on things like why Lindsay Lohan is not necessarily the key to your perfect Greek vacation. And where to stay in (for example) Tel Aviv. If listicles or facile clickbait are what you want, traveler look elsewhere.
So let us say STRAIGHT OFF: the idea of a high-rise hotel in Larnaca, Cyprus — a town best known for its historic Church of St. Lazarus and scattered architectural relics from the Ottoman Turkish era — made us a little uneasy. Its more raucous sister down the excellent coastal highway, Limassol, is in danger of becoming the new Las Vegas that nobody asked for, and with no resolution of the Cyprus Problem in sight (Mr. Erdogan’s lights may be on, but truly no one’s home) portions of the southern two-thirds of the country risk finding themselves in the “overtourism” boat.
THAT SAID, Larnaca, as home to the island’s major international airport, really did need a world-class hotel and badly. Size didn’t really matter! The Radisson Blu Hotel, Larnaca is both overdue entrant and welcome posh spot minus the pretension. After driving around the tangle of Limassol traffic and dusty British Sovereign Base Area roads (well, a guy’s got to get to Aphrodite’s Rock one way or another!) an overnight at this luxurious oasis was a weary traveler’s prayer answered.
Just have a gander at it from the outside. Note the calm Mediterranean Sea behind it (the airport is a few miles to the left) and the beautiful outdoor roof deck pool area.
This is one of those hotels where there are actually two entrances. The first and more dramatic one is on the ground floor (the ground floor level also shares space with some new, independent shops and upscale restaurants). After you walk through this space, perhaps pausing for some fruit water, an elevator whisks you up to the fifth floor lobby.
While the windows in the guest rooms are not actually purple, there is a pair purple glasses placed on the countertop in the spacious bathroom. That’s a colorful, contemporary touch.
Here I am at the pool area (below). An affable barman snapped the picture for me and I should mention, as the sleekness and spaciousness of the pool zone speaks for itself, that the service levels at the Radisson Blu are exceptionally high. Too bad there was no time to chill out poolside (had I known that my airline was soon to go out of business, I might well have lingered there in the Cyprian sun).
Some of the guest rooms look like this…
The very modern lighting is all activated by inserting your card key (blue, of course) into one of these things: Insert to Gain Power! I inserted mine and yes! Power was gained.
This was not my actual room (below), but mine did have one of those plush Star Trek-y chairs. A nice design accent. There was also a pillow menu featuring a range of COCO-MAT organic pillows, which were actually already positioned in the bed.
Didn’t like, but loved, the elongated shower and the water pressure was excellent. I wasn’t sure what you’re supposed to do with the white thing.
Hello, clouds. Hi, sky. Greetings, Larnaca…
I breakfasted with a friend from Lebanon (Tel Aviv and Beirut are but short hops from Cyprus, as is Syria, but let’s not dwell on that for now, I mean this is about a hotel) and assured him that the iced espresso served at the hotel bested anything at Starbucks. Next to it, by the way? Freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice. The flavours of the Bible!! (lest you forget, Cyprus was the first place in the Roman Empire to adopt Christianity. I think.)
Now, they told me the Skybar was closed, but say “bar” and dammit, I’m there. My Cypriot friend snapped this photo. I’m sure the place gets busier/buzzier at night and if the service is anywhere near as solicitous as it was at breakfast, I could easily see myself spending hours up there savoring one or more Commandaria wine coolers or some such.
Also, I liked the view from my own private balcony. Austere, open, sorta indéchiffrable…
The Radisson Blu Larnaca definitely shook my senses, registering a solid 7.8 out of 8 on the Tripquake scale. And for the drivers out there yes, the parking is (breathe…) easy. Get your Cyprus rental car here. And go big Blu!!
And by the way, don’t let one little airline’s going belly up dissuade you from planning a trip to Cyprus…it’s still a major Mediterranean crossroads, well-served by Aegean.
For more information about hotels in Cyprus and Greece, including my picks for Athens, click here.